Expectation vs. Reality: 4 Key Learnings from Producing Virtual Events
June 26, 2020

Expectation vs. Reality: 4 Key Learnings from Producing Virtual Events

Being an expert in event production isn't just about past experience - the best experts know that it's critical to keep an 'always learning' mindset in the events industry. And over the past 3 months, we've learned a lot. 

As businesses around the world pivoted their events from in-person to digital, our organization has adapted to help meet those needs and bring their productions to life. It's been a challenging, rewarding, and informative evolution for many in the events industry - and in the spirit of the 'always learning mindset' - our production experts are sharing their top 4 key learnings from 'the new normal' - check them out below:


1. Live Streaming is Here to Stay.

Corey Yacco_name and title

Expectation: Broadcasting pre-recorded content to the audience is a great way to bide time while we wait for the world to return to normal. Whether it be pre-recorded content or live, Live Streaming is a great way to get our message out until then.

Reality:  Even when Live shows come back, Live Streaming will be vital. Not only will audiences become accustomed to it, but companies will have resources and contingency plans in place to integrate Webcasting in to all live events. Although “in-person” will eventually return, any business who isn’t on the cutting edge of live streaming will inevitably be left behind by the digital age.


2. Going Live is Intimidating, But More Efficient

Leo_name and title

Expectation: Many clients believe that pre-producing all of their presentation content by recording tracks separately and editing together packaged videos is more efficient and reduces many of the risks of presenting content live to an audience – the classic “we’ll fix it in post” mentality.

Reality: Recording piecemeal with the intent of putting everything together in editing opens a big can of worms with this type of video content. Presentations are often much longer than typical online video content, and longer length means a longer post-production process - often more time consuming and costly than planning and delivering at least some of your event content in real-time.

Consider recording full presentations live-to-tape with a production partner that can accommodate this at the very least – treat the recording itself the same way you would inviting a presenter up onto the main stage live. That way, you won’t get bogged down in time-consuming editing and review cycles.

And nothing is as powerful as actually going live with your content - the engagement statistics we’ve accumulated over the past few months tell a compelling story: More audience members tune in, and for longer, when at least some portions of the event at truly live.


3. Less risk, more reward

Mank Blog

Expectation: Many clients have a few unclear expectations if any at all. Virtual Events are an entirely new endeavor for many organizations around the world. It's forcing a lot of events teams outside their comfort zones - and that comes with risks. Will they be able to convey their message effectively? Will the technology work? These are important questions - and it's our job to answer them. 

Reality: After nearly all the Virtual Events we've produced this year, clients have loved the results. With a seamless production process - they often realize it's not all that different from a live event. But they also see the benefits of being virtual - they can reach far more people than a single ballroom can hold. They have interactivity features to connect with viewers instantly. The analytics are much richer than when in-person. Not to mention the overall cost of a virtual event can be significantly less than an in-person live event.



4. Preparation is more critical than ever

Joey Blog

Expectation: Because our Virtual Event isn’t 100% Live, we can figure out the details as we go.

 

Reality: Over communicating with your internal team is essential. Don’t assume just because you put everything in email that everyone is reading it. Now that they’ve been working remotely their inbox is fuller than ever, so for some it’s impossible to take in every detail. 

 

We recommend setting up multiple short conference call check-ins with your internal team every week the closer you get to showtime. It can feel like a chore to sit on yet another Video Conference, but it’s critical for all stakeholders in your organization to ensure they are on the same page. It’s amazing how 15-20 minutes of devoted time with your internal team can relieve everyone’s stress.

 

Having your content pre-recorded means you have to be fully vetted, scripted, designed and planned out weeks before you’d normally have to for a live event. Our Video Editors are as talented as they come, but making a presenter who was ill-prepared look and sound better through editing can be a real challenge. And for anyone presenting from a studio stage, set aside a good chunk of time to practice on the set. Getting comfortable (and looking comfortable) speaking directly to a camera is completely different than standing on stage in a room full of people. The golden rule here is that rehearsals are just as important in virtual events as they are with live events.

 

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